Jeff still can’t play the guitar, and that’s OK! Self development in lockdown is not a requirement, survival is.
In late 2019, Jeff sent Lee a message asking if he had any free time to give him a few guitar lessons, and a guitar to borrow. Jeff was keen to get into playing the guitar, something he’d been keen on doing for a long time. His first mistake was asking if Lee had any free time, he always does, but also always doesn’t, but would definitely make time for Jeff. His second mistake was asking Lee and not his husband Shane, the guitarist and composer of our podcast theme music. Lee lent Jeff the guitar, suggested he start by having a little play around on his own before they worked out a time to give the introductory lesson. Jeff did so and found some online tutorials and started down the self-teaching path. Then Covid-19 hit and we went into lockdown. This meant the possibility of Lee or Shane getting together with Jeff for a guitar lesson was pretty much impossible. Since then, however, Jeff has only picked up the guitar probably a dozen times and on each of those occasions, he’s made a start, decided it’s too hard and put it down again. A part of that is that it’s a little harder to learn new things as an adult, there’s truth in the saying ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” a bit more information on that here. A big part of his struggle to make any progress however is simply because of lockdown.
We’ve all seen something along the lines of the original tweet. Well, we fall more in line with thinking like the guy with the red pen. Lockdown has been tough for so many people. Yes, we’ve been gifted a lot of extra time but we’ve also had a whole lot of extra pressure heaped on top of us. Pressure from an unprecedented global pandemic. Normally Jeff wouldn’t have time to just sit and watch a YouTube video guitar lesson uninterrupted. He’d have the time at home but there’s extra time now that would normally be spent socialising. It’s great that he’s got that time, but the trade-off is that he’s got: a wife whose anxiety is in a heightened state; the concern of less work in his new job; worries over what the end of this is going to look like. And that’s not even mentioning the constant feeling of stress in the air at the moment, or the negative feelings spewed out by either the mainstream or his social media. When you add all that up it comes out on the negative side of things. Not many people are in a ‘better’ position at the moment than they were pre-pandemic. That doesn’t make for the right environment for a lot of us to learn a new skill or attack something new.
So while many people are telling us that we should have remodelled the house, started a side hustle or, in Jeff’s case, learned a new skill, don’t worry if you haven’t. If you have managed to then well done to you. That’s a huge achievement. But if you’ve found yourself just resorting to default survival settings that’s OK as well. We’ve all got to get through this and we will all do it in our own way. While Jeff has forgiven himself for not making too many musical attempts, he’s also considering now whether that is going to be something he pursues later, or whether he wants to spend his time elsewhere. When this is all over and life goes back to normal, or whatever normal may look like, then have another look at that new skill or that side project and see whether or not it’s still high on your priority list. It may be, it may not be. It may have risen up the list or it may have dropped down a couple of spots. The lockdown may have made you realise where your priorities truly lie. Whatever has happened is fine. We’ll just accept it as it is and work from that point.
If you’ve found yourself in the same position after this lockdown that you were in at the end of 2019, we think that’s a pretty good net result. Don’t beat yourself up for just ‘surviving’ this pandemic and all that goes along with it. Very few of us are thriving. Jeff and Lee discussed the recent lockdown in the recent episode of the No Pants, No Problems podcast below.